Rust in the Wheatbelt: The Social Impacts of Industrial Decline in a Rural Kansas Community
While most sociologists now recognize the importance of urban industrial problems, there is less awareness of the causes and social significance of nonmetropolitan manufacturing decline. By means of structured and informal interviews, nonparticipant observations, and analysis of public documents, a case study was conducted to evaluate the economic and social "community impacts" of industrial restructuring in a nonurban community. Eight negative consequences of manufacturing decline were identified. The study generated information inconsistent with two prevailing explanations for recent rural industrial troubles in the United States: the underskilled production labor theory, and the deficient physical infrastructure thesis. Case evidence suggested that capital flight, economic and political network powerlessness, and managerial competency deficits may be significant causes of rural manufacturing decline. Given the significance of manufacturing for rural areas, more cogent, multidisciplinary explanations for nonurban industrial shifts need to be developed.
Sociology and Anthropology
Knapp, Tim. "Rust in the wheatbelt: The social impacts of industrial decline in a rural Kansas community." Sociological Inquiry 65, no. 1 (1995): 47-66.